Gisele Bündchen Isn't Up on the 'Kendalls and Haileys' of Modeling: 'I Was Living in Boston for 13 Years'

In her new cover story with Vanity Fair, Bündchen opens up about her career and the modeling industry as a whole

Gisele Bündchen for Vanity Fair's April 2023 cover story. Photo: Lachlan Bailey/Vanity Fair

Kendall Jenner may be the It girl of the modeling scene right now, but Gisele Bündchen hasn't been paying attention.

"I was living in Boston for 13 years," Bündchen told Vanity Fair when asked about the "Kendalls and Haileys" dominating the catwalks right now, implying that she isn't up on who's in and who's out.

She may have stepped away from the runways a few years ago, but Bündchen is still working — and earning high praise along the way. She told Vanity Fair in her cover story that she still gets stopped "in the street" in her home country of Brazil — though her kids with ex-husband Tom Brady, Benjamin, 13, and Vivian, 10, don't quite understand why — by people who recognize her for her work.

The model told the outlet she doesn't bother showing her kids her old magazine covers, but she does want them to think she's cool. Her desire to be a real-life superhero, she said, comes across in plenty of her photos.

Gisele Bündchen on the cover of Vanity Fair's April 2023 issue. Lachlan Bailey/Vanity Fair

"In fashion, people used to joke with me that I was Sporty Spice because I was always the one hanging from things, doing jumping pictures," she said, adding, "I really want my daughter to think I'm cool, to be honest."

Following her divorce from Brady, Bündchen has dipped her toes back into modeling, including starring in a Louis Vuitton campaign celebrating its second Yayoi Kusama collection. Her agent, Anne Nelson, told Vanity Fair that there are more "really big fashion moments" on the horizon for the model, adding that she's dealt with "a million" asks to hit the runways in Paris.

"They still ask, just in case she changed her mind," Nelson said, to which Bündchen replied, "I never say never, because the only thing in life I am certain of is change."

It's taken years and a lot of hard work to get to this place, though. Bündchen started modeling at age 14, when she went to Japan for work. At the time, she didn't speak English, and she told Vanity Fair she felt "alone" but determined to succeed.

Gisele Bündchen for Vanity Fair's April 2023 cover story. Lachlan Bailey/Vanity Fair

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She then arrived in New York and lived in an apartment with other models, where she was surrounded by drug use and debauchery. "I saw things that were like, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," she said. "I always say my guardian angels are very powerful."

Bündchen didn't call anyone out while tearfully recalling some of the "tough" times in her early career, but she said there were days when she felt like an "object" with "no feelings."

"The things I've seen and the situations I've escaped from just because I have faith…It's just emotional. I feel everything so deeply, and when I remember it, I feel like I'm living it again."

The budding model was unwilling to be defeated, though, partly because she didn't want to let her parents down. It was then that she discovered her love for Costa Rica — where she still spends a lot of her time — and the determination to survive.

"My natural instinct was, 'I'm not going to be a victim of this. I'm not going to sit here and be like, 'Why are they treating me like this? Why are they leaving me standing here naked for, like, eight hours without offering me water or food? Why are they being so mean?' " Bündchen told the outlet.

"I could have chosen to do drugs. I could have chosen to party. I could have chosen to allow…the vampires that are out there to suck life out of me and use me," she said, adding, "but I came out of it. I wasn't broken."

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